Top Things to Do in London for Soccer Fans
As the official travel partner of the UEFA Champions League, we’ve journeyed to the homes of the clubs that have got through to the final 16 to give you the lowdown on the hotspots for your next away trip. For this article, we’re heading to London.
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London is home to two soccer clubs—Tottenham Hotspur FC and Chelsea FC—that certainly keep their fans on the edge of their seats, in and out of the stadium.
The clubs’ long histories have included moments of sheer glory along with disappointments and periods out of the top tier, but the determination—and fan support—have never wavered, making Tottenham Hotspur FC and Chelsea FC exciting clubs to see in action.
Tottenham’s sleek new stadium, completed in 2018, has become a gleaming landmark, and there are many bars, restaurants, museums, and parks within easy reach for post-game exploring. And, of course, the rest of the capital is an easy journey away on the London Underground (or tube), making a soccer trip a brilliant excuse for a city break in London.
Discover what to see and where to eat during a soccer break in London, and explore the best things to do and places to go in London after attending a game.
Meet the teams: Tottenham Hotspur FC and Chelsea FC
Tottenham Hotspur FC
Founded in 1882, Tottenham Hotspur FC—or “Spurs,” as the club is more commonly known—has certainly put its fans through the wringer.
Most fans would agree that the club, also known as the “Lilywhites” due to the players’ white shirts and navy shorts, had its heyday in the 1960s, when it became the first English side to win a major European trophy (the European Cup Winners’ Cup, in 1963). Tottenham Hotspur FC also took the double in 1961, topping the league and lifting the FA Cup.
Tottenham Hotspur FC is one of two clubs (along with Manchester United FC) to have won at least one major trophy each decade from the 1950s to the 2000s, thanks to top-class former players including Gary Lineker, Teddy Sheringham, Glenn Hoddle, and Ossie Ardiles.
FUN FACT: Tottenham Hotspur FC was the first non-league club to win the FA Cup in 1901—an achievement that’s never been replicated.
Founded in 1905, the Chelsea Football Club, or Chelsea FC, is London’s other home team and one of the most successful in English soccer history. The club competes in the Premier League, which is the top division of English soccer, and has won the league championship six times.
Chelsea FC is one of the few clubs that have won all the main UEFA competitions. It’s also the only club in London that has won the Champions League. The club’s home colors are royal blue and white with a crest depicting a ceremonial lion, which was initially inspired by the coat of arms of the Metropolitan Borough of Chelsea.
Over the years, Chelsea FC has had many record-breaking players, including ex-captain Ron Harris, the highest appearance-maker, and Frank Lampard, the club’s all-time top goal scorer.
FUN FACT: Chelsea FC has a rivalry with Tottenham Hotspur FC and a long-standing rivalry with Leeds United.
Visiting London’s soccer stadiums: Tottenham Hotspur Stadium and Stamford Bridge
Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
When the original White Hart Lane stadium was demolished in 2017, it marked the end of an era. But it’s been replaced with a shiny new stadium right next door—and Tottenham Hotspur Stadium is pretty impressive.
Costing a reported £850 million, the new stadium allows more fans to pack in, increasing capacity from around 30,000 to 62,062. It even has an on-site microbrewery and several bars, including one that’s more than 210 feet long.
The stadium is around a one- to two-hour drive from Gatwick Airport, an hour and 15 minutes from Heathrow, and a half hour from King’s Cross railway station in the heart of London. It’s easiest to reach via public transportation. White Hart Lane station, a five-minute walk from the stadium, is on the Overground, London’s suburban rail network, with regular services from London Liverpool Street. Tottenham Hale station, on the Victoria line of the London Underground, is around a half-hour walk away (just follow the scarves). Plenty of buses run from this station, and from the city center, too.
Where to eat and what to do near Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
The new stadium has gone all out when it comes to food, with 60 catering outlets serving quick bites inspired by London’s street-food scene. You can also try the real thing at Seven Sisters Market, where stalls dish up Colombian and other South American cuisines.
Nearby, Pause Coffee is a good place to catch your breath (and grab some Polish food) before joining the march down to the stadium. Light Bite is another good option for pierogi dumplings and chicken Kiev.
If you’ve got time to kill before a game, or you’re visiting the stadium for a tour, check out Tottenham’s growing arts scene. Bernie Grant Arts Centre is among the spots showcasing the area’s creative side.
Located in Fulham, Stamford Bridge, known locally as “The Bridge,” is Chelsea FC’s home stadium. With a capacity of over 40,000, this is one of the largest stadiums in the Premier League.
In addition to hosting the home club, Stamford Bridge is a popular venue for other international games in England, including the Charity Shield games, the FA Cup finals, the FA Cup semi-finals, and other sporting events like rugby, greyhound racing, and American football.
Stamford Bridge can be reached through any of London’s public transportation options. You can take the District line to Fulham Broadway, and there are Overground stations that are about 15 minutes from the stadium. There are also two bus stops outside the stadium for bus numbers 14, 211, and 414.
Where to eat and what to do near Stamford Bridge
Stamford Bridge is located in Fulham and includes many amenities for fans. You can find bars and restaurants in the stadium and its surroundings, including Frankie’s Sports Bar & Grill, 55 Restaurant, and the Chelsea Pensioner.
There are special attractions for fans as well, such as the Chelsea FC Megastore. Located in the southwest corner of the stadium, the store boasts two floors of souvenirs, kids’ fan gear, training shirts, coats, and replica shirts. You’ll also find smaller stores at the entrance and within the club museum.
Another highlight of a stadium visit is the Centenary Museum, a museum dedicated to Chelsea FC. Located in the former Shed Galleria, the museum gives you a tour of the club’s history and a behind-the-scenes visit to a private lounge. Some of the museum’s artifacts include old programs, past kits, and other team memorabilia.
Partying in London after the game
Celebrating after the game
Tottenham Hotspur Stadium’s bars, in the east and west stands, pour craft beers in industrial-chic surrounds, making them ideal for a post-game beverage and debrief. Stamford Bridge also has its own fan-oriented bars for post-game beverages and celebration.
Further afield, popular “boozers” for watching the game include The Shakespeare in the East End and The Hope & Anchor in Hornsey.
Going out in London
It’s hoped that the new Tottenham stadium will boost the area, though it has already been compared to trendy Hackney, with cafes and cocktail bars springing up and creating an increasingly vibrant nightlife scene.
Those looking for a more chilled-out vibe should head to Walthamstow, a short tube journey away. This leafy North London neighborhood has a lovely village-like feel and lots of cozy bars and pubs.
You can fly to London from many parts of the U.S., Europe, and worldwide. Regular trains connect Gatwick Airport to St. Pancras, while Heathrow is on the Piccadilly line for easy access to central London. Unsurprisingly, top-class London hotels abound. You can check out some of London’s up-and-coming areas or sort results according to your budget.
Fancy cheering on London’s teams? London’s stadiums are the perfect base camps to explore some of the trendiest neighborhoods, with easy links to the attractions of the center.